The loss of smell would indicate a risk of dying within five years


A study published Wednesday in an American magazine shows that dysfunction of smell turns out to be a good predictor of mortality.

Dysfunction of smell augur the arrival of death in the years following. According to a research published on Wednesday , the older people unable to identify simple odors have an increased mortality risk within five years. The researchers determined that 39% of subjects 57 to 85 years who participated in this study were unable to recognize simple smells like the pink, orange, fish, mint and leather died during this period, against 19% in the group with moderate loss of smell and 10% for those that may feel normal.

Smell indicator of mortality risk

Olfactory dysfunction was found to be a better predictor of mortality than a diagnosis of heart failure, cancer or lung disease, according to the scientists from the University of Chicago, whose work is published in the American journal PLOS ONE .

Only serious liver diseases are a strong indicator of the probability of dying within five years, say the authors of this research. The study, which is part of the “National Social Life, Health and Aging Project” project was conducted with 3,000 men and women aged 57-85 years representative of the American population.

Age, weight factor

Nearly 78% of those who took the test were classified as having a normal sense of smell, 45.5% having been identified the five odors and 29% four out of five. Approximately 20% of participants were classified as hyposmiques, recognizing only two to three odors. The remaining 3.5% were “anosmic”, ie that their sense of smell was greatly reduced. They could not recognize one of the five test odors and none for 1.1% of this group.

Age makes a difference: 64% of younger (57 years old) were able to recognize all the smells against only 25% of Older (85 years).

An indicator of the decline in the ability to regenerate

This team of researchers that included psychologists, physicians, social scientists and statisticians have offered several hypotheses to explain this phenomenon. One explanation is that the olfactory system has with regenerative stem cells. A reduced sense of smell and could report a drop in the overall capacity of regeneration of the body with age, which increases all causes of mortality, these scientists argue.

“This is not a direct cause of death but a harbinger that something is more wrong with the body,” said Dr. Jayant Pinto, assistant professor of surgery at the University of Chicago specializing in genetics and treatment of olfactory disease, a lead author of the study. He said the results of this research “could help develop useful and inexpensive clinical test capable of rapidly identifying individuals at increased risk of mortality.”